Aeroflot Russian Airlines
Sofia (SOF) – Moscow (SVO)
Flight number: SU2061
Aircraft: Airbus A320 (twin-jet)
Departure: 1:10 pm (local time)
Arrival 5:00 pm (local time)
Duration: 3h, 20min
Distance: 1,371 mi
Seats: 2A, 2C (Business class)
«COULDE BE BETTER»
As we already mentioned in preview, this flight was directed from Sofia Airport (SOF) to Sheremyetevo Airport (SVO) and operated by Aeroflot Russian Airlines. This is a regular 3 hours flight for the company to that destination.
1. Inside the airport
Sofia Airport is not big and has an easy access from the city centre. It takes about 20 minutes by car and probably the same time by subway. The airport is not big, it is medium size and consist of two terminals. The airport was renovated a few years ago, so it is modern and convenient.
There were many people in the check-in area, but nobody for Aeroflot business class check-in desk. By the way, in 2017 Sofia Airport surpassed 6 million passengers for the first time, as after renovation the airports serve as a home base for Bulgaria Air and Balkan Holidays Air, and as a base for two low cost airlines Ryan Air and Wizz Air.
Our check-in was really fast, as we were the only passengers in the sky priority check-in desk. Going to lounge we passed by Duty Free, which is not big, but offers many worldwide famous brands of perfume, cosmetics, alcohol and chocolate. As in many countries, there are a lot of local products, selling in the Duty Free zone, such as well-known Bulgarian Rose cosmetics, some food positions, leather items and various wood souvenirs.
2. Lounge time
For Aeroflot business passengers, Sofia Airport offers business lounge, called «Pliska». It is named after Bulgarian city, but for many people the name is associated with famous Bulgarian brandy.
This lounge is one of the three available in Sofia Airport. Let’s say, it is ok for short stays. The room is not big, but more than enough for the number of people, who visit it. There are comfortable armchairs with table, which organised the way, you can find some privacy, what is great. There is a buffet, where you can grab a snack or take a sip of wine, but not more. There is a good variety of sweet or salty appetisers and no main courses. To be honest, it is not required in such airport, as there are no long transfers.
The lounge is not new, it is visible, but it is in a very good condition. You don’t feel like it was established in the Soviet time, like in some small airports’ lounges. Everything is pretty modern and it is visible that the airport personal cares about it.
Making a review of the food offered in the lounge, we would like to mention that all the snacks are pretty fresh, even the pastry. Despite the choice of local wine, there is a bar with world famous strong alcohol items.
As we had a flight at lunch time and live our home early, we did not have time for breakfast and tried some lounge offerings, which were not bad.
3. The flight itself
After having a pre-breakfast at the lounge, we went to the gates for boarding. The advantage of small and medium size airports is the distance between your lounge and gate. We had to walk about two minutes only to reach the boarding gate. Being aware of Aeroflot practice, on time boarding was a pleasant surprise for us.
Entering the plane, Aeroflot offers different magazines and newspapers for all the passengers, which is very good for economy class passengers, but not for the business class passengers. Having a three hours flight, you prefer to get any kind of real entertainment, like a front screen or tablet, not only magazines. Unfortunately, the company does not provide any of this for that flight. As we are frequent passengers on this route, we can say this for sure. Maybe Aeroflot does not provide it at all for medium short flights and we are just spoiled by service of companies like Qatar Air, but we remember a review we read a time ago for the similar length Aeroflot flight, where it provided tablets for business class passengers as well.
As we have already mentioned, we were almost the only passengers in business class, and had seats on the right side, from the beginning. Our seats were 2A and 2C, and the other passengers had exactly the same places in the row behind us.
Flying with Aeroflot it is also good to have seats in front, as they always have a limited quantity of dishes of every position. What we mean, is that the other two passengers, who were sat behind us, had to eat what was left. Sorry, but is it ok for the well-known big company? Business class passengers, being two of four from 20 possible have no choice of meal on the three hours flight. But let’s say, we were lucky guys and enjoyed our choice.
Honestly, the seats are pretty comfortable. Soft enough and have variants of adjustments. There are more then enough space between your seat and the next one infant of you. Also, there is a small step, where you can put your feet and rest.
As a welcome drink, Aeroflot offers standard refreshments: still water, orange juice and champagne. As soon as you take a sip of a chosen one, flight attendant offers you a menu to speed up the process.
Waiting for the landing, we always appreciate, if the pillow and blanket are already on the seat, as usually between the flights, air conditioners in aircrafts work on its maximum efficiency and make the salon too fresh for a comfort stay. Aeroflot gets its +1 for this convenience, as it provides everything.
Taking a look at Aeroflot menu, we can see that it was developed by Russian leading flight catering company Aeromar. It sounds credible, taking into account that the chef, who took part in the creation of that menu, is a famous figure in Russia.
Personally, we like the chain of restaurants «Novikov», the uniqueness of every place, taste of food and the quality of products offered in each restaurant are incredible. But can not say the same about the onboard deserts, which are created by famous chef of one of the «Novikov» restaurants. To be honest, we did not like the desert at all, even the way how it looked liked.
Overall opinion about the menu is ok, we always find something really tasty from it. This time for example, we liked our starters a lot, but it will follow later.
As soon as we took off, the flight attendant brought us hot towels and asked for our meal preferences. As it was already mentioned, we were sitting the first and had a real choice of dishes that was perfect.
The tray table, by the way, is stowed in your arm rest, left or right, depending on the seat side. The same place you can find the buttons of seat regulations.
Having no other entertainment on board, waiting for our lunched we checked the content of seat pocket. One of the magazines was good, it was the one that is offered only for business passengers. But what surprised us, is the lack of English materials inside, as it contained just a couple of pages in english and the rest was in Russian.
As the flight was during the lunch time, we had to choose between that offered options. Our starters choice went for trout with lentil salad and meat plate with blackcurrant sauce. As we said, this was the best part of our meal, pretty delicious.
For the main course we also chose two different option but none of them was tasty. Not bad, but same time, not good enough to enjoy. Cod fish with black quinoa was too dry and had no taste at all, to be honest. The lamb was better, but also as much simple, as it could be, having no taste.
What looked weird for us, were the cups for sauces. It looked like used jars from a canned food. But, maybe it is their new design of dish serving, who knows. Because when we just got our appetiser drinks with nuts, we noticed new champagne glass (before, Aeroflot served champagne in the same glasses, they serve juice or water), it is a real high champagne glass. After a few moments our flight attendant asked our feedback about the glasses, as they were still on trial period.
We have already made a spoiler for the famous chef’s desert, but let’s see, what it was. The desert itself was described as «Earl Grey cake», but in reality it was a kind of tea mousse, what looked very weird and was even more strange for taste. We were not disappointed, as we really like to drink tea on Aeroflot board with its complimentary dark chocolate. First of all, the design of it is cool and unique. Every chocolate pack has a photo of flight attendant in one of the city destinations of Aeroflot, and moreover, the dark chocolate itself is pretty good.
One of last, but not least from the meal are drinks. The wine list on Aeroflot board is good enough to try and complete your lunch or dinner. The menu contains famous brands of wine and strong alcohol drinks, but it also offers cocktails that you actually can try only during the flights, which are more than six hours.
Actually, the flight of three hours is not supposed to have cocktails available on board, as it comes to the end very fast. Now, let’s see the real last kndisscussed part of the flight or the aircraft, let’s see the restroom.
The lavatory in A320 is pretty small and simple. It is usually the same in many airlines. As the flight is not really long, Aeroflot does not provide any amenities there. In the toilet you will find no creme, brush and tooth paste and so on.
4. Final word
Aeroflot Russian Airlines is the flag carrier and the largest airline in Russia. Aeroflot is one of the oldest airlines in the world, tracing its history back to 1923. During the Soviet era, Aeroflot was the Soviet national airline and the largest airline in the world. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the carrier has been transformed from a state-run enterprise into a semi-privatised company which ranked 19th most profitable airline in the world in 2007. Aeroflot is still considered the de facto national airline of Russia. These facts make that «big» name for the company, and also add the additional cost to the tickets (often the same routes of other companies are cheeper).
To sum up everything discussed earlier, we would say that Aeroflot is not only the «big» name. We would not discuss the safety of the company, as it is another field, but talking about the service we would tell you our personal point of view.
It is true that the price for Aeroflot business class is much higher than for the other airlines’ tickets. But it can be proved by such short distance business class flights, as all the European carriers have no big comfortable seats, for example, which is a significant advantage and one more +1 for Aeroflot.
To be honest, the company does not confirm its high status by service, at least at short flights, as we share our experience of such flight. The company has a huge fleet of aircrafts, and discussing our particular Airbus A320, we can find that it is one of 79 Aeroflot similar ones. That particular aircraft was pretty comfortable for that length of flight, but probably Aeroflot should make its onboard service (food, entertainment) a little better.
Despite its rich history and background, the company is growing every day and its potential is very high. We are sure that one day Aeroflot will clear all the unpleasant nuances and will fully confirm its «big» name.